Routine. Make a routine and stick to it.
Training the mind to maintain single pointed focus is no different from training to do anything else. Athletes train their bodies, scholars train their intellectual capacity – with one common thread. Repetition. And lots of it.
Repetition provides the support that reinforces a new way of doing things. The mind has the habit to jump about like a monkey and sometimes to gallop along like a wild horse across the plains. When we sit in meditation, we must always bring the mind back to focus on the breath to maintain our single pointed focus.
The mind learns to accept this training more readily if we practice on a regular schedule. Developing single-pointed mind is about creating a new mental habit. The only way to establish a new mental habit is my regular, steady reinforcement.
It takes a routine. When we practice daily, at the same times each day, the mind begins to catch on, bit by bit, to the new habit. With routine, daily practice maintaining focus becomes slowly more easy.
It’s like heeling a puppy. We wouldn’t expect the puppy to heel perfectly on the first day, first week or even first month of learning to heel, would we? No, of course not. When we train a puppy, we train every day at certain times. And when we train the puppy, we do the same things, over and over, every day. So it is with meditation. We keep bringing the mind back to focus just as we gently heel the puppy.
So whether you practice in Chicago or in any other part of the world, whether you practice sitting or walking meditation, taiji or qigong, follow this one simple rule: make a routine and do your best to stick to it. Your mind will catch on.
Be patient. Practice daily. Your single-pointed mind will develop strength. And, your stress levels will go way down. Think of it as a slow and steady revolution. Changing your life for the better, one breath at a time.